The $1.2 trillion “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” provides $91 billion in funding for transit. These dollars could significantly influence Missouri’s ability to provide critical access to jobs, health care and education — however there is a catch. Nonfederal or local match funds are required. Without it, states will be leaving federal funding on the table.

Therein lies the crux of the issue in Missouri. The Show-Me State ranks 45th in the nation with regard to transit investment. For the last four years, Missouri has only allocated $1.7 million in local funding for transit and that total is split among 34 transit providers. Any federal funding support for transit operations requires a 50-50 match, and capital programs need an 80-20 match.

Missouri transit providers have worked diligently to identify local funding sources through sales tax, private contracts and more, but the most significant missing link in the formula is the lack of state funding.

OATS Transit, City of Joplin and Metro Transit, to name a few, could secure federal funding for capital and operating needs, yet the local match is elusive.

The state legislature has an opportunity in 2022 to ensure Missouri can draw down federal funds. The Missouri Department of Transportation appropriation request is $8 million for transit. This is a local funding level not seen in state investment since 2002. We encourage elected representatives to stand in support of this request. It is desperately needed.

Kimberly Cella is executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

Recommended for you